Sequential PCT

[From Michelle Ivers (2004.04.24.0800 EST)]

From Bill Powers (2004.04.23.0840 MST)]

It seems to me that I’m doing an awful lot of apologizing to you. Why so prickly?

I’m not sure Bill, why you felt you have to apologise to me. All I’ve done is ask some questions in response to things you’ve said. I haven’t asked for any apologies. Why do you feel you have to apologise to me? If your perception of me is that I’m prickly, then so be it. It really doesn’t bother me one way or the other.

I’m sorry for saying dog poop. Oops, there I said dog poop again, sorry … I think I’m stuck in a loop. Sorry. I hope I haven’t offended you by apologizing too much, or by saying dog poop – damn, there is it again. Sorry.

Is this humour or sarcasm? As humour it’s pretty good. .

Cheers

Michelle

[From Bill Powers (2004.04.23. 1704 MST)]

Michelle Ivers (2004.04.24.0800
EST)–

From Bill Powers (2004.04.23.0840 MST)]

It seems to me that I’m doing an awful lot
of apologizing to you. Why so prickly?

I’m not sure Bill, why you felt you have
to apologise to me. All I’ve done is ask some questions in response
to things you’ve said. I haven’t asked for any apologies. Why
do you feel you have to apologise to me? If your perception of me is that
I’m prickly, then so be it. It really doesn’t bother me one way or the
other.

I’m sorry for saying dog poop. Oops, there I said dog poop again,
sorry … I think I’m stuck in a loop. Sorry. I hope I haven’t
offended you by apologizing too much, or by saying dog poop – damn,
there is it again. Sorry.

Is this humour or sarcasm? As humour it’s pretty good. .

I’m hardly ever sarcastic. On the other hand, humor doesn’t always come
out as intended…

Best,

Bill P.

[From John Anderson (2004.04.26.0940)]

[From Bill Powers (2004.04.23. 1704 MST)]

Michelle Ivers (2004.04.24.0800 EST)--

From Bill Powers (2004.04.23.0840 MST)]

It seems to me that I'm doing an awful lot of apologizing to you. Why so
prickly?

I'm not sure Bill, why you felt you have to apologise to me. All I've
done is ask some questions in response to things you've said. I haven't
asked for any apologies. Why do you feel you have to apologise to me? If
your perception of me is that I'm prickly, then so be it. It really
doesn't bother me one way or the other.

I'm sorry for saying dog poop. Oops, there I said dog poop again, sorry
... I think I'm stuck in a loop. Sorry. I hope I haven't offended you by
apologizing too much, or by saying dog poop -- damn, there is it again.

Sorry.

Is this humour or sarcasm? As humour it's pretty good. .

I'm hardly ever sarcastic. On the other hand, humor doesn't always come

out

as intended....

Best,

Bill P.

I first joined CSGNET more than ten years ago, because I thought -- and
continue to think -- that PCT offers a good way to think about brain
function. I don't know what's happened to the list since then. It seems
like the discussions used to actually deal with science, more or less. But
lately, exchanges on the list have often devolved into ones like the one
above, which are better suited for private correspondence, in my opinion.
With teaching and other responsibilities, I don't have enough time to sift
through stuff like this, so as a result I often don't sift through at all,
and I suspect there are others who do the same. In fact, someone else may
have said the same thing that I am saying now, and I missed it. But I
don't think it hurts to say it again.

Let's get back to discussing PCT as a science. What I personally am
interested in is what it can tell us about how brains work. I hope to
make some contributions toward that in the next few months, but I'm not
ready to do so just yet.

I am offering this as constructive criticism, not to snipe. I also want
to emphasize that I'm commenting in response to the above message only
because it's the one I happened to be reading at the time that fit the
bill, not because it is particularly egregious.

Regards to all,

John Anderson
Director, Center for Science and the Public
Department of Chemistry & Physics
University of North Florida

From [Marc Abrams (2004.04.26.1012)]

[From John Anderson (2004.04.26.0940)]

Thanks John, a breath of fresh air and the reason I stay on CSGnet. I
have been as guilty as the next guy for allowing the conversations to
get personal at times but I welcome your presence on CSGnet and hope you
will help shed some light on some very interesting questions or at
minimum point us who are willing, into areas of research that might
prove profitable. I will endeavor to keep myself focused on the science
and not the other garbage.

You mention you have been on CSGnet for 10 years. Have you done any
research involving control?

Any ideas on the physiology involved?

Do you view the interactions of the various parts of our nervous
systems, endocrine, and auto-immune systems as being 'part' of the
'brain' function?

If so, can you give a broad view of this interaction and how you see
control being involved in all of this. If not, do you have an
alternative explanation for the interactions.

Marc

Considering how often throughout history even intelligent people have
been proved to be wrong, it is amazing that there are still people who
are convinced that the only reason anyone could possibly say something
different from what they believe is stupidity or dishonesty.

Being smart is what keeps some people from being intelligent.

Thomas Sowell

[From Boss Man (2004.04.26)]

Marc Abrams (2004.04.26.1012)

Thanks John, a breath of fresh air and the reason I stay on CSGnet. I
have been as guilty as the next guy for allowing the conversations to
get personal at times

You are far too modest.

From[Bill Williams 26 April 2004 11:30 AM CST]

[From John Anderson (2004.04.26.0940)]

Anderson describes his original interest in PCT as a good way of
approaching questions concerning brain function. And, he expresses
a preference that CSGnet "get back to discussing PCT as a
science." I for one certainly wouldn't be opposed to CSGnet carrying
more content devoted to interpretation of brain functioning in terms
of a control theory analysis. There is, as I understand plenty of
bandwidth availible to comfortably do so. Anderson describes this
as his personal interest, I would think it is a subject of much more than
merely person interest. I would consider a persuasive treatment of
brain functioning from a control theory standpoint to be an important
contributor to many other areas of interest to people who are a part
of the CSGnet. Many of the clinical, social and economic applications
of control theory can benefit from the availiblity of an accurate
description of brain functioning as a control theory analysis.

So, I am not "in principle" entirely opposed to having the CSGnet get
back to doing control theory science. However, Anderson appears
to be going about this "gettting back to science" by suggesting that
there are categories of postings, and perhaps topics, that in his view
should not be carried on, on the CSGnet. Anderson is of this opinion
as a result of his perception that such posts impose a burden upon
him to expend his time to evalutate whether or not these posts are
worth his reading them. As it stands now, they only way Anderson
can determine whether a post is worth his reading it, is by reading it.

I think Anderson's problem is a genuine one-- basically it is an
information cost problem. Other people have recently perceived that
the CSGnet is not functiong as they would prefer. Various solutions
are emerging. In addition to the CSGnet there are now two additional
forums devoted to discussions of control theory, behavior, and whatnot.
One the ECACS forum controls membership, but allows anyone to
read the discussions. The other the Yahhoo site controls as I understand
it both membership and reading discussions is availible only to members.

For the time being I doubt that there is sufficient interest to support a
similiar site to accomdate Anderson's interest in brain functioning from
a control theory perspective. However, it might be possible to use the
thread or subject line in postings better. Now, on CSGnet there is little
coorelation between the thread or subject line in a post and the content
of the post. As an example the "Sequential PCT" subject header started
as a someone technical discussion of how time and causation enter into
control theory modeling. Over a short period of time, however, the
actual content drifted in direction which Anderson has little or no
interest.
And, so he bears an information cost as a result of a divergence between
the header and the actual content of discussion.

I doubt that Anderson or anyone else at the present time is going to
impose discipline upon CSGnet practices in this or any other respect.
But, those wishing to make use of the CSGnet for reporting upon and
discussing brain functioning issues from the standpoint of control theory
might identify their discussions by a distinctive subject caption. And
request that those posting under that caption confine their discussion to
the purposes that the subjectline has designated.

Bill Williams

[From Rick Marken (2004.04.26.1050)]

John Anderson (2004.04.26.0940)--

Let's get back to discussing PCT as a science.

I think that would be a great idea. We're trying to do this on the Yahoo
csgnet group. You might give that a try. I think you sign up at
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/csgnet/

What I personally am interested in is what it can tell us about
how brains work. I hope to make some contributions toward that
in the next few months, but I'm not ready to do so just yet.

I would be very interested in hearing them.

I think one of the main implications of PCT for how the brain works is that
efferent neurons (that don't connect directly to output transducers) are
reference signals. It would be nice to have this demonstrated at the
physiological level. A nice demonstration would be as follows:

Inject a train of impulses into an efferent neuron that synapses one level
above the motor efferent -- the one that connects to the output transducer.
Measure the firing rate of the afferent (perceptual) input to this same
synapse as the rate of the impulse train going into the efferent neuron is
varied. Assuming this is an intact preparation, where the output of the
system has its normal effect on the input variable, the afferent firing rate
should _track_ the varying efferent firing rate. This would show that the
efferent functions as a reference signal, per the PCT model, and that
impulse rate is the relevant signal variable.

Another test would involve using a constant efferent impulse train and vary
disturbances to the environmental variable that corresponds to the afferent
input. Do this while measuring the motor efferent impulse rate. What you
should find is that the afferent impulse rate is kept matching
(approximately) the reference impulse rate while the output efferent rate
varies in proportion to the disturbance.

Why not come to the meeting and we could discuss this there?

Best regards

Rick

···

--
Richard S. Marken
MindReadings.com
Home: 310 474 0313
Cell: 310 729 1400

From David Wolsk (2004.04.26.16.17)

I realise neurophysiology has gone way way beyond what I was doing with
electrodes 35 years ago, but I've kept up as well as I could and I
don't think a single efferent neuron firing rate is likely to correlate
directly with motor output.

And, now, as per the April Scientific American article on glial cells,
the complications and unknowns keep expanding with every new discovery.
David

Dr. David Wolsk
Associate, Centre for Global Studies
Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Education
University of Victoria, Canada

···

On Monday, April 26, 2004, at 10:52 AM, Richard Marken wrote:

[From Rick Marken (2004.04.26.1050)]

John Anderson (2004.04.26.0940)--

I think one of the main implications of PCT for how the brain works is
that
efferent neurons (that don't connect directly to output transducers)
are
reference signals. It would be nice to have this demonstrated at the
physiological level. A nice demonstration would be as follows:

Inject a train of impulses into an efferent neuron that synapses one
level
above the motor efferent -- the one that connects to the output
transducer.
Measure the firing rate of the afferent (perceptual) input to this same
synapse as the rate of the impulse train going into the efferent
neuron is
varied. Assuming this is an intact preparation, where the output of the
system has its normal effect on the input variable, the afferent
firing rate
should _track_ the varying efferent firing rate. This would show that
the
efferent functions as a reference signal, per the PCT model, and that
impulse rate is the relevant signal variable.

Rick

From [Marc Abrams (2004.04.26.1939)]

From David Wolsk (2004.04.26.16.17)

I'm glad someone else pointed this possibility out to Rick. I have tried
in the past but maybe hearing it from others might help. I hope John
responds and gives us some insights into his work over the past 10 years
with PCT and the brain.

Marc

Considering how often throughout history even intelligent people have
been proved to be wrong, it is amazing that there are still people who
are convinced that the only reason anyone could possibly say something
different from what they believe is stupidity or dishonesty.

Being smart is what keeps some people from being intelligent.

Thomas Sowell

···

I realise neurophysiology has gone way way beyond what I was
doing with electrodes 35 years ago, but I've kept up as well
as I could and I don't think a single efferent neuron firing
rate is likely to correlate directly with motor output.

And, now, as per the April Scientific American article on
glial cells, the complications and unknowns keep expanding
with every new discovery. David

Dr. David Wolsk
Associate, Centre for Global Studies
Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Education
University of Victoria, Canada

[From Rick Marken (2004.04.26.2000)]

  David Wolsk wrote:

I realise neurophysiology has gone way way beyond what I was doing with
electrodes 35 years ago, but I've kept up as well as I could and I
don't think a single efferent neuron firing rate is likely to correlate
directly with motor output.

If what you mean is that you don't expect the firing rate of an
efferent neuron that is connected to an output transducer (such as a
spinal motor neuron) to correlate with the firing rate of a higher
level "motor" efferent (such as an efferent coming out of the
cerebellum) then I agree with you; I don't expect such a correlation
either. Indeed, I predicted (in the second part of my earlier post)
that there will be no such correlation when disturbances are applied to
the controlled environmental variable. What I predict is that the
firing rate of a higher level efferent neuron will correlate with the
firing rate of a lower level afferent neuron that synapses with the
higher level efferent.

Best regards

Rick

···

---
Richard S. Marken
marken@mindreadings.com
Home 310 474-0313
Cell 310 729-1400